The squelch of muddy boots echoed throughout the UK this morning as the nation’s most famous gardener briefly left his well-manicured plot to spread a little manure into our homes via Radio 5 live.
Yes that’s right. Ally McCoist.
The Manager Who Won Nothing.
The man who pushed the MSM to new feats of endurance by being an unrelentingly abysmal Ibrox supremo safe in the knowledge that they would never criticise him.
The bestest rookiest manager of all time popped to up offer his views on Neil Lennon, Ronny Deila, Celtic and the overall state of Scottish football. Quite what any respectable media organisation thinks McCoist brings to the world of punditry is anyone’s guess. However, they can’t seem to end their fascination with his charming brand of ‘insight’.
McCoist joined the growing ranks of people discussing Ronny’s prospects as Celtic manager and the vexed question of who might eventually replace him. Neil Lennon’s departure from Bolton has seen the
pre-Scottish Cup semi-final bullsh*t ‘debate’ intensify, with a number of commentators suggesting (somewhat unconvincingly) that he might return to Celtic. Personally I think it unlikely that Lennon would want to come back given that the same board and financial constraints are in place, and given that it is rarely a good idea to go back to a former job.
My opinion counts for nothing, but I wouldn’t want to see him return. We have had the ‘Neil Lennon Experience’, and it was great, but it ran its course and we have all moved on.
So what of McCoist’s comments? Well, his analysis of the ‘Lennon situation’ was truly compelling:
“If Celtic do change their manager, I think Neil Lennon would certainly be a possibility. He did an exceptional job at Celtic.”
“Now that he has moved on, is there a possibility he could go back to Celtic? I would have to say yes.”
Thanks Ally! That’s pure genius!
But Ally was far from finished. Ronny Deila was also subjected to some incisive commentary:
“The current manager at Celtic is a man I have a great deal of sympathy for because, no matter what he does, it is probably not going to be enough. Scottish football for the last three or four years has been in an absolutely bizarre situation when nobody really knows what’s good and what’s bad and what’s indifferent.”
I am pretty sure we all know what has been bad, Ally. Those Petrofac Cup defeats, and struggling in the Championship despite having resources which dwarfed those of your rivals definitely fell into the category of ‘bad’. And as for sympathy, despite his shortcomings I am sure Ronny can do without the pity of someone who hasn’t managed a team to major honours in one country, never mind two…
I must admit that when I heard McCoist taking about sympathy, I wondered whether he was about to express sympathy for the Judicial Panel members whose lives were disrupted by his famous “who are these people?” cry, or those gambling players and officials who came a cropper when he handed over his legendary dossier to the SFA. Sadly, McCoist remained silent on those matters.
He did however, manage to trash the achievements of some of Scottish football’s less-illustrious clubs.
“McCoist thinks the Norwegian is the victim of a lack of real competition at the top of the Scottish game. ‘Both cups are held by teams in the Highlands’ he said of County’s victory in Sunday’s League Cup final, which followed last season’s lifting of the Scottish Cup by neighbours Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
It is a fairytale story, but it does tell you more about the lack of strength among the big guns than anything else. For us as a country to have three of our biggest clubs out the top division last season, I don’t think we are a strong enough footballing nation to have that. And the sooner Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen are back in the top flight together the better.'”
Oh dear. McCoist seems to be suffering from the same warped perspective displayed in Matthew Lindsay’s piece yesterday. The idea that the likes of Ross County and ICT have only won trophies because of the shortcomings of others (notably Sevco) is as risible as it is insulting to the players and staff who have bust a gut to secure their success, and to the dedicated fans who have been in dreamland!
If other ‘clubs’ haven’t got their act together to win trophies that isn’t Ross County’s fault and it doesn’t devalue their success. In fact, in enhances it. While others couldn’t turn superior resources into silverware, County made the absolute best of what they had and won their first major honour. It is a great advert for Scottish football and for having a level playing field.
Similar arguments apply in relation to McCoist’s comments about Sevco, Hibs and Hearts having been outside the top flight. The idea that Scottish football isn’t “strong enough” to cope with them being in the lower leagues is absolute nonsense.
‘Armageddon’ never arrived.
And numerous clubs and fans have had the time of their lives in recent years.
It is called ‘sport’, and sometimes sport doesn’t play out in the way you think it should. Long may it continue like that!
Before anyone suggests that I am being too hard on the Gnomemeister, allow me to say something positive about the comments he made today. As the manager of Rangers when they died, and of Sevco when they began life, McCoist probably knows the details of the sagas better than most. And he probably has more experience of off-pitch turmoil and its impact that anyone else in British football. So it was heart-warming to see him expressing sympathy for what Neil Lennon must have gone through as Bolton Wanderers stared into (but ultimately stepped away from) the abyss.
“I for one could sympathise and understand what Neil Lennon’s been going through more than most in terms of his managerial job in the last year or so.”
But what was even more heart-warming was what McCoist said next:
“Our own club went into administration then liquidation. You get players turning up and they don’t know if they’re going to get paid. There are restrictions on you all over the place. It is an extremely difficult job”.
What’s that Ally? Are you – a Rangers legend and the man who had a front-row seat during the events of 2012 – saying that Rangers the ‘club’ – went into liquidation?
That’s lovely! I wonder how many ‘enemies of Sevco’ lists you are on now?
Don’t let it get you down though, Ally. The Clumpany is right behind you in this matter!